A man pants excitedly after he gets done making love to his wife. The sex was superb. His wife opens the drawer next to her and shows him 3 pregnancy tests that turned out positive the week before. She was waiting for the right time to tell him. He gazes at the ceiling, lost for a few seconds in his daydream.
The excitement triggers talks of a future for their new family. They spoke about baby names, and starting a business, and even moving away to another region in Ghana. It was a good night.
Naturally he wakes up with a smile on his face the next morning. He looks over his shoulder and his beautiful wife lays there. Life is as it should be. But something is off. She’s seems off. He gently taps her back. “Honey?” She’s unresponsive. A few hours later she’s pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. She got a brain aneurysm in the night and suddenly died in her sleep.
That was a fake story with a very real message ☛ You really cannot know how much time you or anyone else has left.
Time is Permanent, but Life is Temporary
I started with that story because I heard something like that a couple weeks ago and got that message semi-permanently stuck in my head… and also how many times will I have the valid chance to start a piece with a man having sex with his wife. Might have caught your attention huh? Let us stick to the facts. This remains an opinion piece. Actually this whole article is me just typing out thought processes as it pours out. Today I’m freestyling.
I am at that age where I cannot call myself old, nor can I say I am young. I do feel very vibrant. Yet, I am seeing too many obituaries of men and women too close to my age, sometimes even younger. The possibility of death amidst the mirage of everlasting time is now a significant factor I now decide not to ignore.
As working stakeholders of the Ghanaian economy, we tend to get so much into adding the targeted numbers to the company’s bottom line, or earning that figure on the salary slip, or securing that extra monthly bonus that is needed, so much that we allow certain crucial moments to pass us by. As it happens many times, it gets passive and automated, with a credible justification constantly on repeat at the back of our minds.
Many times have Eldridge Afari and I planned to have a friendly cookout with both our independent circles of friends because we both realise we talk to them not enough times outside work. Darren Spencer is still waiting for me to be a regular at his house for friendly poker night with the guys. I could name others instances. We seem to know the value of networking but tend to shy away unless a conference says “pay me to meet people!” then we all start galloping.
Networking is a non-stop endeavour, happening every time and everywhere
Personally, starting Maxwell Investments Group from scratch, with just one idea, changed my life. It has done wonderful things for me but it also has had a brutal effect on my relationships outside work, especially those before MIG started. Testimony of those working 9 to 5 tell the same tale, though their Friday nights and weekends work out far better than mine. We can all say “oh it’s just that time in your life” but this time in our lives compared to others is not what it used to be.
Heart attacks. Hypertension. Kidney failure. Liver disease. Stroke. All these use to be ‘old people diseases’, and I’m talking above 50yrs, even 60yrs. We spoke of these as what could get you after retirement. A frighteningly high number of the youth in the late 20’s and 30’s are now being diagnosed with these ‘old people’ conditions. Confirm this with any medical doctor you know.
Let us stick to the facts. This remains an opinion piece.
Early death from the conditions aforementioned factors can be argued as life-style associated. Heavy drinking, high cholesterol intake, smoking, high blood pressure and the very sedentary lifestyle that we all risk getting accustomed to badly contribute. I now see how the most workout I get is when I pace around my office when I’m on a call or during long meetings with staff.
Dr Erin Michos, M.D, MHS, Associate Director of Preventive Cardiology and an Associate Professor of Medicine at John Hopkins Medicine, once said “There’s no doubt that how you live the first half of your life not only impacts your current state, but it also affects how healthy you’ll be in the second half of your life”.
How have you led the first half of your life so far?
How many years more of life do you think it buys you if you continue living in the same manner? Luckily for our longevity as Ghanaians, going to the gym, exercising at home, keep-fit clubs and even yoga, are all becoming trendy as we see many more people from all ages and walks of life being involved the more. The fact that these activities make for great pictures and videos on social media is just an added bonus.
Back on the fleeting nature of time, yes I was aware that to be successful and good at whatever you do, you need to value your time and invest it wisely. But this is about long life and abrupt death. I have no doubt that the general life expectancy of my generation will not be that of my parent’s generation for the simple fact that both generations have had totally different approaches to life’s daily activities like diet, physical activity, and even a preference (or the excessive availability) of processed foods.
Fun Fact about Processed Foods
Food processing is the transformation of an agricultural product from one form into another. So that is fresh tomato into tinned tomatoes. Or plantain to Neat Fufu. Or even cassava to our normal gari. If it went from one form to another, then it’s processed.
A lot of Processed Foods have chemicals added like preservatives, flavours, food colours and others that make it unhealthy to consume. Processed foods are also usually loaded with added sugar, sodium, fat and other artificial ingredients. After processing, fibre content is always reduced. That’s actually why brown rice is preferred to white rice; the brown has more fibre. All these processed foods carry accompanying severe medical implications when taken regularly. And we have consumed too much and continue to do so.
Time lasts forever. Eventually, you and I and everyone won’t.
It should be clear now that everything has an expiry date, even our life. I remember as a young boy learning that our sun will die out one day. I cried. In hindsight I see the hilarity of the situation. My elder sister kept repeating to me that I shouldn’t cry because I would probably be dead before the sun dies out so I shouldn’t worry at all. Imagine telling that to an 8year old. My point is I realised early on that all things will die.
What I am trying to put across as you read this is that the expiry date on you, or I, and life’s happenings is invisible and that is a fact that should change how you process things. As human beings with freewill and the ability to create, we tend to forget that we not omnipotent, and will not be everlasting.
Today I am reminding you reading this and me writing this in the simplest terms to make hay while the sun shines. And yes, my sister was right. Our sun will die in about 5 billion years. Even that won’t last.
I am making a mid-year resolution to prevent putting too many activities off. Join me.
As I grow at work, at home, and with other company, I realise that I cannot do everything alone, nor can I do it all at once. As my good friend Alan Assibey puts it. “Always look for value and partner with it”. In his experience, value creates value. I am beginning to see more and more how true that is. Also, when you break big tasks or that big dream of yours into smaller bits, it helps you invest your efforts wisely, freeing up time for other things.
In 2016 when I started living a more sedentary lifestyle, because my day would be so packed but with less physical activity, a friend of mine teased that I was getting fat in all the wrong places. I made a joke that wasn’t really a that by 2020, I will look like Cristiano Ronaldo in physique. It’s July 2019 and my 6-pack is down to 2. I need to exercise more.
To enjoy good health, we must exercise.
It is in our best interest and that of our beloved ones that we stick around on earth as long as we can. Healthy dieting and regular exercise can greatly decrease our risk of getting a lot of the ‘old people diseases’ mentioned before.
Lastly, be alive! Do more!
The person you are afraid to talk to is probably more friendly than you think. That course you’re afraid to take is probably not that hard to pass. Text your loved one that you adore him! That you adore her! Plan for a weekend trip and actually do it. And do not undervalue having anybody be good and close to you. For nobody knows anybody’s expiration date.
Value time! Both yours and others.
Hit me up on social media and let’s keep the conversation going! I read all of your feedback you send me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Those that ask for my snap, Snapchat makes me feel a bit old, for I can neither navigate it properly nor understand its purpose.
Also feel free to throw at me topics you’d like to read on the Macroeconomic Bulletin.
These are all facts. And this has been an opinion piece.
The Writer is the Group CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, an International Trade and Business Development Solutions Provider. He works with a team of motivated professionals, governed by industry experts with experience spanning over a century. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces. Facebook:@thisisthemax Instagram:@thisisthemax Twitter:@thisisthemax LinkedIn:/in/thisisthemax Website: www.maxwellinvestmentsgroup.com Email: email@example.com Mobile: 0249993319